The Zinman Institute of Archaeology - Excavations and Surveys
Excavations and Surveys
The researchers at the Zinman Institute are conducting various field works emphasizing on the Prehistory, Biblical and Classical periods.
Some of the field project are seasonal were some are all year around.

Listed bellow are the active field and heritage projects by their main period of occupation.
Bellow it you will find the listing of our previous projects.
Prehistory Division
The long cultural sequence exposed in the four caves and rock-shelters that make up the Nahal Me'arot site, Tabun, Jamal, el-Wad and Skhul, extends from the Lower Palaeolithic to the present day, thus representing nearly a million years of human evolution. In addition to evidence for numerous palaeo-environmental fluctuations, there are also several well-preserved burials of two Middle Paleolithic human types (Neanderthals and Early Anatomically Modern Humans) and passage from nomadic hunter-gatherer groups to complex, sedentary agricultural societies is extensively documented at the site. Taken together, these emphasize the paramount significance of the Mount Carmel caves for the study of human cultural and biological evolution within the framework of palaeo-ecological changes.
One of the longest occupation sequences is found at Tabun cave, spanning some three-quarters of a million years. The transition from Lower to Middle Palaeoilithic is best documented here, which makes Tabun the type site for the Near East. One of the most ancient burials, some 100,000 years old, was discovered here, , reflecting the beginning of religious thought. We may further note that Tabun is the only site where two human populations, Neanderthals and early modern humans co-existed roughly contemporaneously, around 100,000 years ago. The excavations at the cave are directed by Prof. Avraham Ronen.
The cave of el-Wad is one of the sites found in Nahal Me'arot. The current excavations on the terrace fronting the cave concentrate on recovering data from the Natufian culture dating from ca. 13,000 BP to 10,500 BP. A primary objective is to reconstruct the spatial organization of one of the earliest known sedentary settlements. To date, we have recovered numerous flint tools, well preserved fauna, grinding tools, human burials and architectural remains. The excavations are directed by Prof. Mina Evron and Prof. Daniel Kaufman.
A collapsed prehistoric cave located not far from Haifa, on the western slopes of Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean. The expedition, headed by Prof. M. Weinstein-Evron & Prof. I. Hershkovitz (Tel-Aviv University) aims at sourcing the origins of early modern humans, at a site never before excavated. The project is sponsored by the Dan David Foundation.

Raqefet Cave
A prehistoric cave on the southern Carmel. Dr. D. Nadel & Mr. G. Lengyel will lead the second season of the renewed excavations at the site. We plan to excavate Natufian burials (11,000 years old) and to unearth small finds, such as flint tools, animal bones and beads.
The Ohalo II fisher-hunter-gatherers' submerged camp was found in 1989 after a long drought, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Dated by 14C to an average 19,500 B.P. (calibrated ca. 23,000 B.P.). Due to excellent preservation conditions under the water, the remains of daily activities in the camp have been discovered in situ. These include the remains of the oldest brush huts ever found in the world, concentrations of open-air hearths, a human grave and other installations. Hundreds of thousands of charred seeds/fruits, animal bones and flints were discovered on the brush huts' floors and around open-air hearths. The excavations were directed by Dr. Dani Nadel.
A basalt hill on the eastern margins of the Menashe Hills, some 20 km south of the city of Haifa was discovered and tested during 2004-2004 by D. Rosenberg (Haifa University); R Shimelmitz and A. Nativ (both from Tel Aviv University). Initial surveys and trial excavation at the hill prove to show that Giv'at Kipod (Hedgehog Hill in Hebrew) was a center for the production of basalt bifacial tools, mainly axes and adzes. The hill's surface is doted with concentration of production waste (reduction loci) yielding mainly waste material (flakes and fragments) as well as preforms and rejects of bifacial tools.
Biblical Division
Tel Assawir is located 8 miles east of Caesarea, on the entrance to the important Wadi 'Ara pass. The tell is large in area (some 15 acres) and almost round in form. It was suggested by Albright (1923) to be a contact point between the coast controlled by the 'Northern Sea-People' and the Israelites who settled in the hill country. The new excavations at the site are directed by Prof. Adam Zertal.
One of the major biblical-classical tells in Israel, located on the Mediterranean coast. The site was occupied from the Bronze Age through the Roman Period. The international consortium, headed by Dr. A. Gilboa, with Dr. I. sharon (Hebrew University), is focusing on East-West cultural interactions throughout these periods.

Menashe Hill Survey
During more than 20 years Prof. Adam Zertal and his team have been conducting a thorough survey of the Menashe Hills region. The fourth volume of the survey has just been published.

Bedat Esh-Sha'ab and Yafit
The two sites are located in the Jordan valley. Built at the bottom of a rocky hill, each represents a large elliptic temenos enclosed by a sandal-shaped stone wall. The sites were founded in the early Iron Age I and kept functioning, without any architectural changes, during Iron Age II. The finds, along with the Biblical source (Psalms 78, 60), allows us to identify these unique sites as cultic oriented centers used for gatherings and public assemblies. The excavations are directed by Dror Ben-Yosef.

Ein Hilo
Ein Hilo is a Chalcolithic site located in the Jordan Valley 15 km. south of Beth Shan. Mr. S. Bar and Mr. O. Cohen are leading the excavations of the site with the aim of uncovering the remains of a Ghassulian village - the first excavated in the western part of the Jordan Valley south of the Beth Shan Valley.
Classical Division
Known as one of the Decapolis cities, Hippos is located on a high mountain not far from the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Here, a marvelously preserved city, established during the Hellenistic period flourished throughout the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. Greek and Roman sanctuaries, as well as ancient Churches from Byzantine times are being excavated. The project is headed by Prof. A. Segal.
During 2005 an unusual project was conducted with the cooperation of the Institute for Galilean Archaeology of the University of Rochester. Financed by the Galileo Fund, a group of high school students from the Arab village of Arabe and students from Megadim high School at Karmiel, joined forces and excavated a small Byzantine monastery, in the center of the city of Karmiel. During the excavations, some rooms of the monastery, its olive-press and its chapel were uncovered. The dig was directed by M. Aviam.


Nahal Bet-'HaEmeq
The aqueduct of Nahal Bet Ha-'Emeq was discovered by the Western Galilee Team of the Archaeological Survey of Israel in the 1970's and a section of the aqueduct is currently being excavated. The survey was directed by Rafael Frankel as are the excavations which commenced in 2000 and carried out by schoolchildren and other youth groups. To date, the aqueduct has been excavated for a length of c. 250 m.
Public Archaeology
This joint Israeli-Palestinian heritage program, funded by the United States Department of State Wye River People-to-People Program (2001-2005), focused on the preservation of shared heritage and community outreach at the sites of Akko, Beitin (Bethel), and al-Jib (Gibeon). The partners of this four-year project were University of Haifa and the Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange in Ramallah. Working in close consultation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the University of Haifa team' s goals included the documentation of cultural, architectural and oral histories of Akko' s diverse communities - past and present. The project coordinators were Professors A.E. Killebrew , M. Weinstein-Evron and R. Hachlili.

Previous Projects
The ruins of Qazyon are located in the eastern Upper Galilee, about one kilometer north of Meroth. Historical information concerning them is scant. The remains of a monumental structure and a lintel with a dedicatory inscription in Greek were documented. In addition to the monumental structure, the ruins include another structure to its west, the remains of possible dwellings and rock-hewn niche graves. The excavation was directed by R. Hachlili and A.E. Killebrew.

Tel Akko
The first excavations at Tel Akko, one of the largest sites in Israel took place in the 1970' s and 1980' s under the direction of Prof. M. Dothan. Several areas on the tell were excavated with the help of Prof. D. Conrad, Prof. A. Raban and Prof. M. Artzy. Continuous settlement was discerned from the Middle Bronze IIa to the Hellenistic Period. Early Bronze ceramics were found by a survey on the site itself. In the summer of 1999, an educational excavation was carried out in area G, headed by Michal Artzy and Ann Killebrew.
Excavations at this fortified site located in central Israel and dated to the early Iron Age, exposed architecture influenced by the western Mediterranean 'Nuraghic' style. This project, run and directed by Haifa University and with the cooperation of the University of Cagliari, Sardinia, is aimed at exploring the archaeology and history of the 'Northern (non-Philistine) Sea Peoples - Shardana and Sikulu. These tribes are known from their settlement of the northern coast of Canaan in the 12th century BCE.
Unlike other sites, where the archaeologist knows what he is excavating - a house, a room, a wall or other structure - the structure on Mt. 'Ebal was enigmatic from the outset. To this day no architectural parallels to it have been found within Israel. Two years of work, comprising three seasons of laborious excavation, elapsed before we got the brainstorm which solved the riddle of the nature of the site by piecing together our scientific data with literary sources on Israelite cultic worship. The excavations at site were directed by Prof. Adam Zertal.
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